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May. 20, 2022 | Friday
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Drumming and tales taught at NOTL library


Storyteller and drummer Babarinde "Baba" Williams returned to Niagara-on-the-Lake last Saturday to lead an interactive drumming workshop held at the NOTL Public Library.

The event was held as part of the Black History Month activities taking place at the library throughout the month of February.

Nigerian-born Williams is a co-founder of Drums et al, a Durham-based organization providing team-building, dancing and drumming workshops and classes all over the world.

During the workshop, people played djembes which are handmade drums imported from Ghana and Nigeria. Because all of the drums were made by hand, no drum was the same, Williams told The Lake Report.

By engaging participants through a call and response performance, Williams told a folktale of The Turtle and the Pot of Wisdom and taught the kids the importance of being humble.

“In this story, I make (children) talk a lot, I make them give me ideas what they think,” he told The Lake Report.

Williams said he also had to make some adjustments to the story to make sure there were no significant cultural differences between African and Western cultures.

“The stories you tell have to be aligned with the culture you’re in right now,” Williams explained.

“Even the songs we're singing in this story are not logical to this culture. So, you try to align your African culture with the culture here or else people will be asking you questions that are irrelevant.”

Although the event was primarily geared toward youngsters, St. Davids resident Zena Samuels, who attended the same event last year, said she could resonate with it.

“Children’s stories teach perseverance. You need perseverance to succeed,” she said after the event.